Pac-12 Report Card, Volume VI: The DelinquentsPosted by AMurawa on February 13th, 2013
These four teams will need to be spending time extra time this week hitting the books.
Arizona – D+
Over the course of 80 minutes against the Bay Area schools, the Wildcats looked like a top-10 team for about, what, eight minutes? Four minutes at the end of the Stanford game and four minutes in the middle of the first half against Cal? But then again, this Wildcats team has made a season out of playing poorly for long stretches and still coming away with wins, even against good teams. Against the Golden Bears, however, that wasn’t the case. And, long-term, that type of play is not going to be enough to max out this team’s ability. Sure, the freshman bigs still have room to grow, but with the core of this team a veteran bunch, at some point you have to take this team at face value; maybe these ‘Cats are destined to underachieve. Then again, I’m also saying this about a team with only three losses in the middle of February.
Focus on: Angelo Chol. On Thursday night, with Grant Jerrett out with injury, Brandon Ashley fouled out in 13 minutes and Kaleb Tarczewski ineffective, the sophomore big man earned 24 minutes, the most in his career. And, he came through in a pinch, grabbing eight boards and scoring six points over that stretch. He slid back to just six minutes of action against Cal on Sunday, but it must be comforting to know that he’s available to produce when needed.
Looking ahead: Thursday night, the Wildcats head to Colorado and enter a lion’s den, where the Buffaloes have the chance they’ve been looking forward to for more than a month — to gain revenge for the Debacle in the Desert. But for the Wildcats, they have the opportunity to rip the hearts out of an opponent. We’ll see if they have the killer instinct to do so.
Washington State – D
Against USC on Thursday night, the Cougars played the Trojans to a draw for about 35 minutes before fading down the stretch. At UCLA on Saturday night, they weren’t even that lucky, going more than 10 minutes in the first half without a field goal, not scoring their first two-point field goal for more than 16 minutes, and never really finding themselves in the game. With a four-game losing streak in progress and Ken Bone’s first losing season on the Paloose a distinct possibility, WSU fans are relegated to discussing the head coach’s future with the university.
Focus on: D.J. Shelton. A 6’10” athletic power forward putting up 9.5 rebounds per game? Sure. Nothing unusual about that. But that same guy handing out 11 assists over the course of a pair of games? That’s intriguing. Shelton still can’t put the ball in the basket on a regular basis anywhere around the key, a disturbing trend for a big guy, but he is the team’s most accurate three-point shooter, knocking down 41% of his 39 three-point attempts this year.
Looking ahead: Hosting Oregon State and Oregon this week (albeit in front of a largely empty Beasley Coliseum) likely presents the Cougars with their last best chance at a home sweep this year.
Utah – D
The Utes got drilled by Oregon State in front of the home folks on Wednesday night, and in so doing, likely locked themselves into a battle for the basement with OSU and Washington State for the remainder of the season. But Larry Krystkowiak keeps them fighting, as they turned in a strong first half against Oregon on Saturday before the Ducks woke up after the half.
Focus on: Jarred DuBois. A couple weeks back, DuBois had to prove to Krystkowiak that his heart was still into his new team. Apparently he made that case well, because he averaged 26.5 minutes this week and scored 17.5 points per game. While Jordan Loveridge is definitely the future for the Utah program, DuBois is the one guy on the team who can regularly figure out a way to find the bottom of the net.
Looking ahead: The Utes host the Arizona schools this week.
Washington – D-
The Huskies are sort of the opposite of Oregon State this week. Where I gave the Beavers the benefit of the doubt on their grade because they’re at least entertaining to watch, I’m docking the Huskies for being unbearable to watch. On Thursday, they held UCLA to 59 points on 0.86 points per possession – and yet still lost. On Sunday night they spotted USC a seven-point lead, built up a 16-point first half deficit and then scored on just two of their last nine possessions after pulling to within two scores on their way to an 11-point loss.
Focus on: Scott Suggs. After going 1-of-7 against UCLA on Thursday night, Suggs missed all three shots he took in the first half against the Trojans while turning it over twice. But, to his credit, the senior responded big in the second half, hitting 7-of-8 attempts from the field for 16 points as he carried his team back into the game.
Looking ahead: Washington hosts Oregon and Oregon State this week, but they’ve lost two of their last three at American Airlines Arena.